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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs Incheon United

Preview: Pohang Steelers vs Incheon United K League 1
This coming Saturday's clash on the South East Coast will be an important fixture for both Pohang Steelers and Incheon United. The Steelers will be looking to cement their place in the top half, whilst visitors, Incheon, will continue in their efforts to try and move off the bottom of the table.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Ulsan Hyundai 2-0 Pohang Steelers

Pohang Steelers fell to a two goal defeat in the East Sea Derby last weekend against local rivals Ulsan Hyundai. The first half wasn't pretty even with both sides having their moments. However in the second half Ulsan took control; they broke the deadlock when Junior Negao scored his seventeenth of the season. Veteran forward Lee Keun-ho sealed the three points for Ulsan in the final 10 minutes and handed Pohang their third defeat in five games.

Highlights: here

Incheon United 0-0 Suwon Bluewings

Incheon United picked up a point last weekend in a pretty dull encounter against Suwon Bluewings. Suwon rested a few players in the build up to their ACL clash with Jeonbuk Hyundai, whilst Incheon played a little more defensively. During the 90 minutes both sides created little apart from a few half chances. Overall it was a win for the defensive lines, but the draw did neither team any favours.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Pohang Steelers and Incheon United have played each other twice so far this season with Pohang winning one and the other ending in a 0-0 draw. The Pohang win came in early August with Kim Gwang-seok scoring the winner in injury time.

Over the years Pohang and Incheon have played each other 44 times with Pohang edging the number of victories by eighteen to thirteen, the other thirteen have ended in draws. Pohang last beat Incheon at home last season, smashing the Durumi 5-0. Whilst Incheon last won at the Steelyard back in 2016, Park Se-jik scored the only goal of the game that day.

Team News

Incheon United don't have any players suspended for Saturday afternoon's game. However, a number of players are a booking away from a suspension including; Stefan Mugoša, Kang Ji-yong, Kim Dae-joong, Han Suk-jong, Appiah-Kubi, Lim Eun-soo, Kim Bo-seob and Go Seul-ki. Winger Moon Seon-min has been struggling recently for fitness and might not complete the 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon.

Pohang Steelers, like Incheon aren't missing any players due to suspension, but also have a number of players a booking away from a one match ban.

The Adversary

Pohang Steelers have had a few key players help push them into the top half and a remote chance at a ACL playoff spot. Upfront their top goalscorer at the moment is Kim Seung-dae, who has scored six this season. This highlights the main Pohang weakness: scoring goals.

However a strength has been at the back with former Incheon United man Connor Chapman. The Australian defensive midfielder has developed quickly this past season and as well as being important at the back, he has created four goals this season, making him the top assist maker in the team.

Finally, in goal Kang Hyeon-mu have played every second of this K League season. The 23 year-old has been one of the top 'keepers this season in the K League, and could be on the verge of an international call-up.

Who To Watch

Stefan Mugoša


For Incheon United; This season their strength has been moving forward with Montenegrin international Stefan Mugoša being a highlight. He has scored thirteen so far during his debut K League season. Moon Seon-min in currently the top domestic K League goalscorer with eleven this season, which earnt him an international call-up for the 2018 World Cup. Finally Costa Rican Midfielder Elias Aguilar is one of the top assistants in the league, and a big target for league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai when the season concludes.

Prediction

Pohang Steelers have struggled in recent weeks, winning just one of their past five games and losing three of those in the process. The main issue this season for Pohang has been a lack of goals and a real dangerman upfront, especially since the departures of Yang Dong-Hyeon and Lulinha, at the end of last season.

Incheon on the other hand have won two and drawn two since being on the wrong end of a 7-0 hammering by Gangwon FC. Incheon seem to have fixed some of the issues at the back, whilst still looking dangerous moving forward. Their issue at the moment is a lack of squad depth, if a key player is ruled out they could be in a lot of trouble.

Saturday's clash has the makings to be a close game with Pohang looking to grab a narrow victory and exploit possible holes in the Incheon defence. Whilst Incheon know that draws might not be enough at this point and could approach this game a little more attack-minded and make the most of a faltering Steelers side. A draw seems the most likely outcome come four o'clock on Saturday afternoon.

Predicted Score: Pohang Steelers 1-1 Incheon United

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